Discover Utah Kids - Winter 2018

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Climbing 101

for Families

spring break 2018

Adventure Roadtrippin' Itineraries



Kids Love Kanab! Load up the kids and take a road trip to pet-friendly, family-friendly Kanab. Surrounded by three national parks and places like Moqui Cave, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Toadstools, Dinosaur Tracks, and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, you’ll never run out of places toST. explore and things to do. And when the day is done, there are plenty GEORGE of places to eat, sleep, and unwind. Start planning trip with the kids today at FULLyour PAGE

DISTANCE from Kanab


Dinosaur Tracks

3 miles (5 KM)

Three bears creamery cottage

Moqui Cave

7 miles (11 KM)

the soda fountain

Best Friends Animal SANCTUARY

8 miles (13 KM)

peekaboo wood fired kitchen

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

21 miles (33 KM)

big al’s burgers


44 miles (71 KM)

Lotsa Motsa Pizza

As the most successful private destination community in the Park City area, Red Ledges offers a fun private club headlined by a best-in-class golf program, great access to the region’s world class, year-round activities, an easy drive to a major hub airport and the conveniences and friendliness of a small town. With over 140 homes, cottages and cabins completed and nearly 100 more in process, folks looking for the Park City lifestyle are finding that the short, scenic drive framed by Deer Valley’s slopes and the Jordanelle and Wasatch Mountain State Parks leads to a fun, convenient place to call their own.

Exclusively Brokered by Red Ledges Realty, LLC . Obtain the Property Report required by federal law and read it before signing anything. No federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. All descriptions, depictions, and renderings are provided solely for illustrative purposes and are subject to change. ©2017 Red Ledges Land Development, Inc.

PUBLISHER Monique Beeley EDITOR Greg Scothern


CONTENT MANAGER Breana Wright ART DIRECTOR Michelle Rayner EDITORIAL Amanda Edmonds, Christa Graff, Jeff Lewis, Lauren Lengel, Ashley Meeks and Katie Thorup PHOTOGRAPHY Arika Bauer, Monique Beeley, Amanda Edmonds, AJ Mellor, Chris Pearson, David Swindler and Breana Wright


Heading to Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon PHOTO BY Monique Beeley

We want to hear from you, send your rants, raves and story ideas to Advertising inquires for Discover Utah Kids, Discover Utah Magazine & can be sent to

Discover Utah Kids is published biannually by Discover Utah Magazine, LLC. P.O. Box 2336, Park City, UT. 435-640-6549 © 2017/18 by Discover Utah Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission from the publisher.



16 26



contents winter



26 Bryce Canyon Winter Festival

Utah’s Best… Family Ski Retreats

12 Ski Deals

28 Local Athlete

14 How To… Ski Tips from Local Families

30 Non-Profit Highlight

16 Explore Your Backyard …Via Snowshoe 20 Educational

Snow Safety

22 Gear 24 Staycation Heber Valley


33 Map 34 Climbing 101 for Families 37 Healthy Kids 38 Spring Break RoadTrippin’

say yes to new adventures





Welcome to winter! The changing of the seasons always fills the air with anticipation of new beginnings, as we mentally and physically prepare for what’s ahead…in this case it’s preparing for an epic snow year… (yes, fingers crossed here) and many powder days. We are fortunate in Utah to have four seasons, each with their own personality, offering different, but equally amazing, outdoor adventures. Say goodbye to the bikes, river gear and flip flops, and say Hello…to skis, snowshoes, boots and cozy winter wear. My personal goal this season is to have more mountain time with my daughter; skiing, snowshoeing and just exploring our wonderful state. If thoughts of a family ski vacation are floating through your mind, check out page 8, where we highlight two affordable and awesome options. Or if a staycation is more your style, then the Heber Valley is your ticket. (page 24) Looking to try something new? How about climbing? Check out page 34, for the details on how to get your family “learning the ropes.” As the snow flies, so does the time…and before you know it, it’s spring break. If you don’t plan early, you may be left in the cold instead of soaking up the warm sunshine of the Southern Utah desert. We have a special section on page 38 to help you plan an unforgettable spring adventure – the kind that both you AND your kids will be raving about for months, if not years, to come. Because we all know that it’s those shared experiences with our kids that plant the seed for a lifetime love of the great outdoors and leave us feeling grateful to be able to share this ever fleeting, undistracted, quality-time together. Hope to see you and the kids out on the mountain this winter!

Monique Beeley



Winter fun for the fam! 83 miles north of Salt Lake City

skiing, tubing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and more!

1-800-882-4433 |

Hike among the Bryce Canyon Hoodoos 800.444.6689





Family Friendly Ski Retreats


PLANNING A FAMILY SKI VACATION can be a bit daunting for a variety of reasons: it’s too expensive (lodging, lift tickets, food, lessons, travel), unsure of the quality of the kids’ ski programs, and is the terrain family-friendly? These may be just a few concerns at the top of the list. Well, we have two resorts in Utah that are PERFECT for your next family-friendly ski trip. Whether it’s just a day trip or a weekend road trip, Brian Head and Beaver Mountain Resorts are calling all families to their mountains for a truly authentic and memorable family ski vacation. You remember…the kind we had when we were kids that to this day still brings a smile to our face.



BEAVER MOUNTAIN RESORT No other resort in Utah stirs up the same feeling of nostalgia for me as Beaver Mountain. This is where I learned to ski and fell in love with the sport at a young age. I grew up in a ski family – we skied religiously every weekend – creating wonderful mountain memories. My first return to Beaver was two years ago with my daughter, who was at the time 6, and my niece who was 11. Driving into the parking lot, I was overwhelmed with memories of my youth and spending so much time at this resort. We gathered our gear and walked up to the ticket office, which to my surprise, looked just the same as it did in the 80’s & 90’s. We

Marge Seeholzer greets skier's daily.

Throwback to my family ski time.

Photo Credit: Chris Pearson Photo Credit: Chris Pearson

walked inside and I was greeted by a friendly & familiar face that I hadn’t seen in 25 years: Marge Seeholzer, resort owner and friend of my family growing up. Beaver Mountain has been family owned and operated since 1939. We chatted for a bit, then the girls started to get anxious to hit the slopes. First stop: Little Beaver, the beginner lift. My mind was racing as we approached the top, everything looked and felt so familiar. I watched as the girls raced down the hill feeling a sense of gratitude for being able to share this wonderful place that was such an important part of my childhood with my daughter. LODGING: The Beaver Mountain Yurt, which sleeps 16+ people can be rented nightly for $250. Garden City/ Bear Lake is just 20 minutes from the mountain and offers a variety of lodging options, and winter is their off-season, so the rates are 20-50% lower than in the busy summer months. Logan, which is 40 minutes away, offers a variety of options, from national hotel chains to historic B&B’s and everything in between.

EXPLORE THE AREA: Logan Canyon, in the heart of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, is an outdoor recreationalist winter paradise, with miles and miles of trails for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing. Stop in Epic Recreation for gear rentals and guided tours. The annual Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is Jan 27th and is a great family friendly event, featuring a chili cook-off, fishing tournament and the Monster Plunge for those daring enough to plunge themselves into the icy waters.


THE STATS: Terrain: 35% Beginner 40% Intermediate 25% Advanced Drive Time: 2 hours from Salt Lake City

Average Snowfall: 400”

Vertical: 1,700’

Elevation: Base 7,160’ Summit 8,860’

Lifts: 4

Acres: 828

Terrain Parks: 2

Runs: 48

Ticket Prices: Adult $50 Child $40 Little Beaver, All Day $25 Little Beaver, 12-ride $30



UTAH'S BEST... BRIAN HEAD RESORT We love Brian Head Resort in Southern Utah for its amazing red rock vistas, small town vibe, family-friendly atmosphere, no lift-lines, tubing hills and night skiing. The base of the resort sits at 9,600 ft., making it the highest mountain resort in Utah. Cedar Breaks National Monument is nearby, providing breathtaking red rock vistas. No other mountain resort is as primly located in the heart of Utah’s National Parks, which make great side trips for those wanting some variety. The resort is divided into two areas; Navajo Peak is the perfect beginner/kid’s area, where you may even feel comfortable letting the kids do laps on their own, and Giant Steps, which offers a full range of terrain options and terrain parks. For beginners, the Brian Head University program can’t be beat. This unique program includes: 3 lessons, gear rentals and lift tickets all for $299…and if you don’t learn in the 3 days, they will provide a full refund.



THE TOWN: Trade in the sights and sounds of the busy city for the quiet and picturesque vibe of this high elevation authentic small town. Lodging options range from two full-service hotels (swimming pools & spa services); Cedar Breaks Lodge & The Grand Lodge, and a variety of reasonably priced condos and cabins. The town is home to 7-restaurants; Pizano’s Pizzeria is a must for the pizza loving family, and for those looking for some home-style BBQ, Giant Steps Lodge at the resort is THE place, where you will find the owner, John Grissinger, personally preparing his famous Kansas City mouthwatering BBQ. EXPLORE THE AREA: Cedar Breaks National Monument offers free guided snowshoe tours (including rentals + hot chocolate) Saturday’s Jan-March; reservations required. Dixie National Forest offers miles of trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing, and if you need gear stop into Georg’s Ski Shop for rentals. Snowmobiling is a popular activity around Brian Head

and Thunder Mountain Motorsports is the local guide that can take you out for an epic tour. APRES’ SKI & NIGHTLIFE: The Last Chance Saloon at Giant Steps Lodge is a great family friendly Après’ spot for music (live music every Saturday), food (John’s famous BBQ mentioned above), and drinks (full bar menu + kid options). Dark Sky Star Parties are conducted throughout the winter by Cedar Breaks National Park rangers and astronomy volunteers. Cedar Breaks was the first National Park Service unit in Utah to be designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Night Skiing and Tubing is a great way to continue the fun into the evening hours for those high-energy kids!

Before heading up Scenic Byway 143 to Brian Head, be sure to stop in Parowan for one of their Best of the West Cinnamon Rolls, because you are on vacation and who doesn’t love a gooey, sticky, sweet, cinnamon roll…right? Twenty-five businesses are featuring their own interpretation of Parowan’s self-proclaimed famous Cinnamon Roll. Look for The Sweet Tour signs in the local store fronts and stop in for a yummy cinnamon treat.


THE STATS: Terrain: 30% Beginner 35% Intermediate 35% Advanced Drive Time: 3.5 hours from Salt Lake City

Average Snowfall: 360” Elevation: Base 9,600’ Summit 10,920’

Lifts: 8 Chair Lifts & 2 Surface Lifts

Ticket Prices: Weekday: Adult $38, Child $27

Runs: 71 Terrain Parks: 3

Weekend: Adult $59, Child $43

Tubing Hills: 2

Night Skiing: $20

Acres: 650 Vertical: 1,320’ DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM


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Ski DeALS f


WHO SAID SKIING WAS EXPENSIVE? Okay…we admit that skiing can get a bit pricey sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be. Utah’s ski industry is rolling out the deals and making skiing for the family more affordable than ever, and a bit of savvy planning can stretch your skiing buck a long way this winter. Whether it’s affordable vacation packages, season pass deals, or deeply discounted introductory and learn-to-ski programs, Utah’s ski areas have got you covered!

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If you are looking for used gear and missed out on the preseason ski swaps, check out Utah Ski Gear, 2nd Tracks, The Gear Room and Gear Rush, they all have carry a variety of both used and new gear.

SKI UTAH FIFTH & SIXTH GRADE PASSPORT PROGRAM Ski Utah’s wildly popular Fifth & Sixth Grade Passport continues to be one of the best ways to get kids on skis for a season at a critical age when their skills and love of the sport develop at a rapid pace. For a mere $35, any fifth or sixth-grader nationwide is eligible for this incredible program. The Fifth-Grade Passport provides 3 days of skiing at each of Utah’s 14 world-class resorts (that’s 42 days!), while the Sixth-Grade Passport provides one day at each resort. Combine this with season-long rental packages for kids starting at just $79, and you suddenly have a very affordable ski season for your fifth or sixth-grade kiddos. (And parents, there’s bonus deals for you with the passports too!) GEAR Many rental locations offer seasonal ski & snowboard rentals, which is perfect for growing kids, check out the programs offered at See ‘N Ski, Utah Ski & Golf and The Lift House.

LEARN TO SKI & SNOWBOARD MONTH January is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, and Ski Utah partners with Utah’s resorts to make learning to ski or snowboard affordable for everyone. During January, all of Utah’s resorts offer a day pass, rental package, and lesson for first-time skiers or boarders for just $49! Restrictions apply, and details vary by resort. Check out for everything you need to know to take advantage of this amazing offer.

PASS DEALS If you plan on skiing more than a half-dozen days this season, then a season pass or combo pass is likely the most economical way to go. Season pass deals are probably the best they’ve ever been, not just in terms of pricing, but also in terms of variety and flexibility. Many of Utah’s resorts have excellent stand-alone pass options, but here are a few of the great multi-resort options available out there that offer bang for the buck: Epic Pass: ($649) This pass is good for near-unlimited skiing at Vail Resorts-owned properties throughout the west, including massive Park City Mountain. Blackout dates apply at some resorts.

SKI FREE PROGRAMS At Brighton kids 10 and under ski free! Eagle Point, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, Snowbird and Solitude kids six and under ski free and at Brian Head, Cherry Peak and Sundance, it’s five and under. Park City Mountain offers the Epic SchoolKids Utah pass which provides 5 FREE passes for all Utah Kindergarten-5th graders. NIGHT SKIING Night skiing is an affordable option with lift ticket prices usually 50% less. Brian Head, Brighton, Cherry Peak, Nordic Valley, Park City, Powder Mountain, Snowbird and Sundance all offer night skiing. Powder Mountain hosts Tuesday Family Nights which includes six lift tickets for $65.

Mountain Collective Pass: ($489 Adults/$99 Kids 12 and under) Good for two unrestricted days at each of the 16 Mountain Collective destinations, including Utah’s Alta, Snowbird, and Snowbasin Resorts. Ski Utah Yeti Pass: ($649) The Yeti Pass gets you one day at each of Utah’s ski resorts (that’s just $49 per day!). This is the perfect pass for parents of kids rocking the Ski Utah Passport.





Ski Tips from Local Families

GRAFF FAMILY: Steve, Christa, Camden (12) & Bailey (9) HOMETOWN: Park City HOME MOUNTAIN: Deer Valley Resort

LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS and enjoying the outdoors is one of the highest priorities for our family. Whether we’re skiing, hiking or mountain biking, our time on the mountain always brings so much laughter and truly grounds us as a family. We are all so happy when we’re outside!

I realize that I really set the tone for the TIPS: day on the mountain. So, no matter what the weather or conditions, I’m always game to take my girls out. If they see Mom being up for anything, it teaches them to do the same. And, even when a day looks so nasty, we always say “any day on the mountain is always a good day.” No ski day is complete without a Deer Valley cookie. The girls know that if we have a strong day on the mountain, it always ends in the cozy lodge with a Deer Valley cookie. It’s great motivation for them to stay positive and ski hard.



One of my favorite memories is when my girls skied the Daly Chutes for the first time. We knew they were capable but I didn’t want them to be scared as we looked over the cornice. So, my husband and I were busily coming up with a plan that one of us would lead and the other tail so the girls knew we were there to support them. When we finished talking and were ready to head down we realized they were already half way down the chutes asking what was taking us so long. It was so fun to see so much confidence and joy; they didn’t even hesitate.

LEWIS FAMILY: Jeff, Brooke, Issac (18), Jonah (16), Eli (12) & Joshua (9) HOMETOWN: Centerville HOME MOUNTAIN: Park City Mountain

JEFF IS A FINANCIAL ADVISOR WITH NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL in Salt Lake City and was a snowboard instructor at Park City Mountain for 18 years. Their boys have all been skiing or snowboarding since the age of 3. As a family we decided early on that snowboarding/skiing would be a top priority, we had both enjoyed the mountains with our parents and siblings and wanted to make sure that our children had those same opportunities. Starting children at a young age you TIPS: need to make sure they are very comfortable on the first few days especially when it is cold. Have lots of hot chocolate and potty breaks. Don’t focus too much on the ability to make it down the hill without falling. Definitely celebrate the little accomplishments on the mountain. Let them see how happy you are that they are there. We found that gradually increasing the time on the mountain was effective. My wife and I would take turns with the beginners on the bunny hill and the other parent would take the older boys to cruise around on the upper mountain. Create realistic expectations. When the day starts, lay out a plan that is reasonable. Don’t cram in too much. let everyone get really comfortable with the equipment and the beginner terrain. Most injuries occur when someone has pushed beyond their abilities. The worst thing to do is take your whole family to a more advanced area at the top of the mountain and force fear and tears. Be patient with the process. One of my favorite memories on the mountain my son Jonah was about 5 and wanted to learn to snowboard.



He was struggling with making a turn and took a hard fall. I could see his frustration and wanted him to keep trying because he was so close to making the turn. He looked teary, and I knelt down next to him in the snow and grabbed his helmet and put it against mine so I could look right into his eyes. I said “I am so proud of you for doing this. You got this.” This was the first of many “Helmet Hugs” of encouragement through the years. Fast forward 10 years and we had all of us together on the 6-seater chair lift, oldest to youngest. We all can ride together and the younger ones do a great job keeping up. These moments on the mountain are priceless. Some of the best memories we have as a family are when the snow is deep and we can all go up together. I cherish the time on the mountain when I am on the lift with my sons and we can really talk. They can’t be distracted with media, so they get to tell me how they are doing without interruption. DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM



SNOWSHOEING IS A BEAUTIFUL, healthy winter activity that the whole family can enjoy. Wintertime in Utah’s mountains is stunning, but like all outdoor activities, there are risks. But the risks are very manageable and a little knowledge goes a long way. Be sure to read our article on page 20 in this issue about how to keep you and your family safe while venturing into the backcountry. There are hundreds of great snowshoeing options within a short drive of the Wasatch Front, but here are a few of our favorites:

> SALT LAKE AREA Quarry Trail (Little Cottonwood Canyon) This trail follows along Little Cottonwood Creek, and is perfectly suited for families, beginners and young kids. Total trail distance is 7 miles out and back, but you can go as far as their little legs can take them! Solitude Nordic Center (Big Cottonwood Canyon) The Solitude Nordic Center offers various winter activities like snowshoe and Nordic options, all relatively easy. The Silver Lake Trail starts just behind the Nordic Center building and goes around Silver Lake for .8 miles.



If your littles are feeling ambitious there are an additional 6 miles of well-marked snowshoe trails that meander between the Nordic Center and Solitude Village. Equipment rentals are also available. Donut Falls (Big Cottonwood Canyon) Donut Falls is a waterfall where the stream falls through a hole in the rock during the warmer months. In winter, this trail becomes a winter wonderland. The trail is about 3.5 miles out and back. Bonus – bring your sleds as there is a great sledding hill near the start of the trail. Dog Lake via Mill D (Big Cottonwood Canyon) This trail is great for older kids; at 5 miles long, the trail begins with a 2.5-mile ascent to Dog Lake. Guardsman’s Pass (Big Cottonwood Canyon) The turn-off to Guardsman’s Pass sits just below Brighton Ski Resort. A road sign indicates the pass is closed for winter, which it is, but the road to the parking area is not. You can customize your distance with this trail as it is an out and back. Depending on how far you venture, this trail offers outstanding vistas with views of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Park City and the Heber Valley.





Millcreek Canyon Millcreek Canyon’s quick access from the Salt Lake valley makes this area a family favorite. Follow the road all the way to the parking lot and winter closure gate. Beyond the gate there is packed/groomed trails for snowshoeing. A variety of small trails branch off near the creeks and through the woods on the sides of the packed road, perfect for kids to explore on. Bonus – dogs are welcome in Millcreek Canyon. Salt Lake Area Rentals: Solitude Nordic Center, AJ Motion Sports, Sports Den, Ski ‘N See, The Lifthouse, University of Utah Outdoor Rec Center.

> OGDEN AREA Mount Ogden Park & Golf Course Nestled high on the east bench of Ogden, this municipal park and golf course offers fantastic snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and fat-biking in winter months. Free to the public, Ogden City grooms several miles of trail specifically for fat-bikes and cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing is welcome on this scenic course. Ogden Nordic Center – North Fork Park This area is perfect for families and introducing your


family to snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is permitted on the main groomed trails of North Fork. At the Nordic Center, you can rent snowshoes for $10 and pay the $3 fee to use the trails. While you’re at it, rent some gear and give cross-country skiing a go…there’s no better place to learn. Mule Shoe Trail - North Fork Park This secluded loop on the northern end of North Fork Park will take you through snowy forests that open to gorgeous views of meadows below the striking alpine bowls of Ben Lomond and Willard Peaks. Nestled in one of the snowiest pockets of the Wasatch, this trail is about a five-mile loop, perfect for older children or determined littles. Wheeler Creek to Art Nord Trail - Ogden Canyon On this 3.5-mile trail you and your family will enjoy a pleasant hike that begins next to an enchanting halffrozen stream and ends with views of the steep mountains and alpine scenery of Snowbasin Ski Resort. Ogden Area Rentals: Weber State University Outdoor Rec Center, Gear30, Ogden Nordic Center. >>>>



> UINTAS There are so many great options an hour east of the Wasatch in the majestic Uinta Mountains, it’s impossible to list them all. But a good place to start is just off Highway 150 a few miles east of Kamas. Here you will find several beautiful opportunities for snowshoeing. Some of our favorite trails are Beaver Creek Trail, Pine Valley Trail and Norway Flats Road. Be sure to check out Samak Smokehouse for rentals, lunch or some yummy treats.



> FOR SOME OVERNIGHT FUN OR A DELICIOUS DINNER, CHECK OUT THESE YURTS! If you’ve never experienced adventure from a yurt, you’re missing out! Staying in a yurt is incredibly fun and comfortable, and it’s an excellent way to extend your backcountry snowshoeing experience beyond just a single day. There are also amazing yurt dining options to cap off your perfect day of snowshoeing.


Here are some of our favorites: Big Water Yurt: Castle Peak Yurt: Norway Flats/TUNA Yurt: Mill Hollow Yurt: Solitude Dinner Yurt: Solitude Mountain Resort: The Viking Yurt: Park City Mountain: Grizzly Ridge, Limber Flat, & Carter Military Yurt System: Puffer Lake & Snorkeling Elk Yurts: Bloomington Canyon Yurt: Bear River Outdoor Recreation Alliance Yurt System:

We will be heading out winter Yurtin’ this season, so be sure to follow us on social media as we explore a few of these awesome locations this winter! @DiscoverUtahKids





Snow Safety for the Family BACKCOUNTRY TRAVEL IN THE MOUNTAINS CAN BE INCREDIBLY REWARDING, but there are manageable risks that every family needs to consider before venturing out for a day of backcountry recreation. Avalanches and sudden weather changes are always possible, and a little bit of knowledge and preparation will go a long way to keep your family safe while traveling through the backcountry. You don’t need to be an expert in avalanche safety to make good decisions in the backcountry. Backcountry skiers and snowmobilers expose themselves to elevated risk by traveling directly on avalanche terrain, making avalanche rescue gear (shovel, beacon, & probe) an absolute necessity. But for the purposes of this article, we will focus on snowshoers and cross-country skiers who rarely find themselves on slopes with the potential to avalanche. They do, however, often travel adjacent to avalanche terrain. Avalanche fatalities have occurred from snowshoers who’ve triggered slides from below a slope, so a basic understanding of the snowpack, general avalanche conditions, and safe route-finding is a must. Keeping your family safe in the backcountry is neither difficult nor complicated, but there are


basic things you want to be sure you understand before heading out for your backcountry adventure: 1. Know how to read and interpret the avalanche advisory.

2. Know how to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain.

3. Know how changing weather can impact avalanche conditions. First and foremost, the simplest and most critical thing you should do before every outing is read the local avalanche advisory. Advisories are found on the Utah Avalanche Center’s website at, and are broken down by each mountain region (Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake,



Provo, Skyline, Moab, and Abajo [Blue] Mountains). Be sure to read the advisory for the area you will be playing in, as conditions can vary from one region to the next. The advisory will list the current avalanche danger based on a five-point danger rating, as well as detailed avalanche concerns for specific slopes, elevations, and aspects. It’s a good idea to get familiar with each of the five danger ratings:

1. Low Danger: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

5. Extreme Danger: Avoid all avalanche terrain; natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.

Understanding this danger scale is the first step in your decision-making process, and should heavily influence where you decide to play for the day. Historically, nearly half (47%) of all avalanche fatalities occur during periods of considerable danger. Does this mean you should scrap your plans because the danger rating is at or above considerable? No…but it should absolutely determine where you decide to go.

2. Moderate Danger: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain.


4. High Danger: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended; natural and humantriggered avalanches very likely.

3. Considerable Danger: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision making essential. Natural avalanches are possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.

Regardless of the danger rating, you can always find safe terrain for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing because you don’t need steep slopes for these activities. Simply stated, avalanche terrain is any terrain that is on or immediately adjacent to a slope of 30 degrees or more. The simplest way to determine a slope’s angle is to use one of the many free level or inclinometer apps available for your smartphone. Simply sight the slope along the edge of your phone, or use a trekking/ski pole to sight the slope and set your phone against the pole. If it’s 30 degrees or steeper, it’s best to take a wide approach crossing beneath the slope. Even on low-danger-rated days, always try to avoid travelling directly below a slope greater than 30 degrees, just to be safe. If it cannot be avoided, it’s always best to space your group out and cross the area one at a time to minimize the risk of triggering a slide from below the slope. On days with considerable or higher danger ratings, avoid terrain directly adjacent to steeper slopes altogether. There are many areas that have great snowshoeing and XC skiing terrain that do not interact with avalanche terrain, like the Nordic trails at ski areas where there is avalanche control, designated winter sports parks like North Fork Park or Soldier Hollow, or the many mountain valleys or foothill areas with large expanses of trees, meadows, and gently rolling terrain. These are fantastic options on days with elevated avalanche danger. Another important feature to avoid near avalanche terrain is a “terrain trap.” Terrain traps are gullies, stream beds, and depressions that a nearby avalanche would likely flow into. Even a slide triggered some distance away can run for long distances in a terrain trap. A basic rule of thumb is if water will flow into it, it’s a terrain trap, and should be avoided if possible. Choose terrain that water would flow from, like broad, gently sloping shoulders and ridges, or low-angle hillsides away from avalanche terrain. Crossing terrain traps is unavoidable sometimes, so just be sure to space your group, cross them quickly and not linger.

Weather can play a significant role in avalanche danger as well, so it’s important to know what the weather is expected to do throughout the day, and actively observe changing weather while you are out. Wind can transport incredible amounts of snow in a very short time, piling snow on leeward slopes, which can change avalanche conditions dramatically. A slope with a low danger rating in the morning when you start, could change to a considerable danger rating a short time later when you are returning. If the wind kicks up while you’re out, it’s always safe to assume that the danger level will be rising as a result, so steer clear of avalanche terrain.

Sun and rapid warming will also impact avalanche danger. As the sun heats the snow, it can become saturated with water, raising the risk for a wet slide. Wet slides are much slower than other avalanches, but are extremely destructive. This typically occurs in the afternoon on southeast to southwest facing slopes, and is especially common in the spring when overnight temps may not dip below freezing and the sun’s energy is more concentrated. But rapid warming can occur anytime the sun is out, and it’s not uncommon even in the colder months, especially during inversions. Signs that the snow is warming and becoming unstable include large horizontal cracks in the snow, snowballing, and pinwheels running down the slope. Again, steer clear of terrain that could avalanche when you observe warming snow. Another useful strategy is to pay attention to how the snow feels underfoot. Listen to the sounds it makes as you travel. If the snow feels supportive at first, but when weighted gives way or collapses, that can be a sign of a weak layer beneath the surface snow and is a sign of instability in the snowpack. Also listen for occasional “whumpf” sounds. This is the sound of a weak layer collapsing somewhere in the snowpack. Cracks that propagate or jut out from your steps are another sign of instability. If you are observing any of these events on level terrain, they are signs of instability and heightened avalanche danger, so be aware of your surroundings and avoid avalanche terrain. ONE LAST THING TO CONSIDER: always be prepared to survive the night. Quick moving storms, injuries, or getting lost have stranded even the most-experienced backcountry travelers. Regardless of how nice the weather is or how short the planned trip, each member of your party should carry a day pack with extra layers, food, survival blanket, first aid, and fire-starting gear. Most outdoor retailers sell affordable, lightweight survival packages with just about everything you need to survive a night in the cold. Taking a few minutes to plan and educate yourself on the current conditions before you walk out the door is really the simplest way to ensure your family travels safely in the backcountry. It only takes a few minutes, and it saves lives. Now get online, get the beta, and get your family out there! IMPORTANT LINKS:





Holiday Guide Utah is home to some of the top outdoor recreation brands, with more than 200 having roots in our home state. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor products to add to your Holiday Gifting List from some local companies, because we all know the benefits of keeping it local!!

STRYKER MULTI-FUEL STOVE – CAMP CHEF Where your family goes, this stove goes too. Its compact design makes it easy to pack in and out. In fact, every stove component, including the three-legged stand, 1.3-liter pot, stove, and lid all fit into one mesh carry bag. And with this model, you can use whichever fuel you prefer—propane or butane. When it comes to cooking, the Stryker isn’t afraid of a challenge. $99.99



STINGRAY TENT – TENTSILE Elevate your family’s camping style with this sleek 3-person (family of 4) tent. This unique and comfortable outdoor shelter is not only fun and immensely comfortable, but also elevates you above inhospitable ground conditions, insects, snakes and other creepies. Tentsile is passionate about trees and are doing their part in conserving them and helping to raise awareness. For every tent purchased they will plant 3 trees, and so far, that’s over 120,000 trees! Ogden is home to their first store worldwide. $650

LIFETIME – HIGH PERFORMANCE COOLER This 55-quart blow molded cooler features - two durable rope handles with blue injection molded grips, foam-filled lid with 300-lb weight capacity, heavy duty polyethylene construction, drain spout with hose hook up, bottle opener, 7-day ice retention and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. $149.99


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LAUNCH PLUS – GIRO Hit the slopes on style this winter! The Launch Plus comes equipped with the In-Form Fit System and is offered in two youth sizes ensuring a perfect fit. The kid friendly 2D design comes in 5 different options. The bonus of a soft interior and Super Cool Vents keeps kids comfortable all-day long. $70 DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM


WEEKEND STAYCATION in the Heber Valley


Photo Credit: AJ Mellor

All the travelling that comes with a typical vacation can be exhausting! Thank goodness Utah has so many outstanding options for a “staycation.” A staycation is a vacation near your home; all the fun but with minimal travel. Here is our guide to a staycation in one of Utah’s favorite small-town destinations: The Heber Valley. WHERE TO PLAY: Ice Castles – A real life Ice Castle comes to life each winter. The Ice Castle will feature lofty ice towers,



shimmering archways, glowing tunnels, narrow slot canyons, glossy walls, roomy caverns and frozen thrones— all made entirely of ice. Dress your littles in clothes you would wear sledding and let them explore this enchanting, magical place. Wasatch Mountain State Park – Tucked away in a beautiful canyon of the Wasatch, this park is both a summer and winter wonderland. In the winter months snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular activities at the park.

Homestead Crater – After a fun day outside, warm up and relax in this geothermal spring, hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock. The mineral water at the crater stays at a constant range of 90 – 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, a therapeutic soak or even take a paddle board yoga class.

Soldier Hollow – Your family will enjoy a variety of year-round outdoor activities here. Surrounded by the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains with views of stunning Mt. Timpanogos, Soldier Hollow comes alive in the winter season. Soldier Hollow hosted the Nordic skiing events, including Nordic Combined and Biathlon competitions during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Feel like an Olympian and take part in tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Heber Valley Railroad – All aboard! Take a step back in time on this historic, steam engine train. During the holidays (November 24th- December 23rd) the train is transformed into the North Pole Express. On this 90 minute trip your family will enjoy hot cocoa and Mrs. Claus' famous chocolate chip cookies. You'll sing along to traditional Christmas favorites and be entertained by elves. When you reach the “North Pole” Santa joins the passengers and greets each child with a special gift. Snowmobiling – Consider taking your family out for a day of adventure in the mountains…on a snowmobile. We recommend going out with a guide; they know all the best spots and safety is top priority. Wisk through the evergreens and alpine meadows, and take in the views of the surrounding Wasatch Mountain range. There’s a good chance you’ll get lucky and find some nice powder stashes as well. Great local guide services include Lofty Peaks, Uinta Recreation, Midway Adventure and Adventure Haus.

WHERE TO EAT: Heber and Midway offer a wide array of excellent dining experiences. Enjoy a farm-to-table family friendly restaurant at the Back 40 Ranch House Grill. For a hip and fun, while warm and welcoming atmosphere, head on over to Spin Café. If you want upscale comfort food with a fresh, innovative twist, try out the Snake Creek Grill. Main Street Social is the area’s newest dining addition featuring local game, seasonal produce and a great atmosphere. Looking for something quick? Drive through Dottie’s Kolaches or Dairy Keen for some easy locals’ favorites. If you’re craving a fiesta, head to Tarahumara and enjoy traditional Mexican food. And, lastly, no visit to Midway would be complete without a stop at the Fill’er Up Coffee Station, for coffee, ice cream and great daily specials. WHERE TO SLEEP: Staycations and last-minute getaways are very economical when compared to a traditional vacation. Sticking close to home allows you to find some great last-minute rates, packages, and deals! We recommend checking out Zermatt Resort, Homestead Resort, Swiss Alps Inn, or Daniel’s Summit Lodge. If you’re looking for something more rustic consider a cabin rental at Wasatch Mountain State Park.




THE BRYCE CANYON WINTER FESTIVAL AT RUBY’S INN is the perfect snowy getaway for families and friends alike. This annual event happens President’s Day weekend, and last year I was fortunate to go for the first time with my family and friends. There were a variety of free events throughout the whole festival that suited everyone’s interests and needs. Everyday we’d wake up for an early start with the group yoga activity, giving us a jumpstart on the day…or some extra time to snooze. From there, a broad scope of activities was available to us. From Nordic skiing and indoor kayaking clinics, to photography and dancing, there were many options that could appeal to everyone. One of my favorites was the archery clinic, where professionals showed us how



to properly shoot an arrow. We got bulls-eyes several times! I felt like a pro, although we were at close range for beginners. There were also cross-country/archery relay races going on while we were there that people could participate in. In fact, there were races set aside just for kids too. Often times we would split up so that the younger kids could do crafts or decorate cookies, while the older kids were doing things like learning how to kayak or make pottery. But usually we stuck together, doing things like renting cross country skis and playing in the snow; we enjoyed Bryce’s nature to its fullest! The contrast between the light snow and red rock made for absolutely gorgeous pictures and amazing views – especially above the canyon and at sunset. We went on


hikes, snowshoed, and did many things outside of the Festival while we were there too. Many of my friends tried cross country skiing for their first time. One of my fondest memories was building a huge snowman with everyone while we were enjoying the sights and snowshoeing. After all these days of playing out in the snow and doing activities, we’d return to the hotel to soak in the hot tub and dive in the pool. We’d munch down on the hotel’s buffet or go out to eat, window shop at places like The Rock Shop, and play games like Slap Jack before crawling into bed. Each day rolled by in a mix of activities, relaxation, and fun. By the time our trip was over, we were already planning our stay for next year’s Winter Festival at Bryce Canyon.



Lauren Lengel is a junior at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City. She loves skiing at Snowbird, camping, mountain biking, hiking, golf, and standup paddle-boarding.



GREER BLEYL SPORT: Mountaineering, skiing, climbing and hiking AGE: 15 PASSION: Peakbagging Life is an accumulation of moments, and some of my happiest moments have been in the mountains. For me, successful mountaineering includes goal setting, preparation and execution. I recently completed all 29 county highpoints in Utah–a bittersweet moment. My current project is completing the 11 Continental US highpoints over 11,000’ by the end of next summer. I have already completed six: Gannett, Mt. Hood, Whitney, Humphreys, Kings, and Mt. Elbert. While my long-term mountain goals are the main course, I also enjoy the “a la carte” adventures. My favorites have been the Uinta Highline Trail, the Snake River Traverse, Chain Lakes to Mt. Emmons, a one-day ascent of Kings and Gilbert, climbing south six-shooter, winter ascents of the Pfeifferhorn and Hayden Peaks and various backcountry skiing adventures in the Uinta and LaSal mountains. What drives my passion is the opportunity to experience such varied landscapes, from thru-hiking in high mountain valleys to trekking across glaciers in the alpenglow, from skiing alpine bowls to climbing up snow couloirs in the dark. Mountaineering continues to teach me important lessons as well, including the importance of focus, shared responsibility, patience, stewardship, and the capacity to endure a bit of suffering and the occasional fail. I’m even beginning to enjoy early morning alpine starts!

Teens, we want to hear from you! Nominate a friend to be featured in the next issue. 28



{Wild Outsiders Club}



WILD OUTSIDERS CLUB (WOC), formerly known as Wasatch Little Explorers Club, is a non-profit organization with the mission to serve families and communities through several different types of fun and exciting weekly meet ups. They hold meet ups yearround and encourage families to have an active lifestyle, build new friendships, connect with nature and better their communities. Most of the meet ups are hikes or strolls out in nature, however, they currently host other meet ups that include field trips, mama's nights, service projects, and community garden tending. WOC is for



families of all backgrounds and sizes. The leaders of WOC foster positive and fun adventures in an allinclusive setting at each of their meet ups. One of their main goals is to make sure that any family that joins a meet up has a great time! They currently have 13 leaders that serve Utah and are expanding to other states. In 2018, Wild Outsiders Club will be adding more specific meet ups to their calendar. These new meet ups will include discussion hikes, scavenger hunts, various clinics, activities catered towards older kids, and more. If you are interested in attending a meet up or getting involved

as a leader or volunteer, check out their website, where you can to learn more, read personal testimonies, and view the calendar of upcoming events. Also, give them a follow on Instagram and Facebook to see posts, pictures and videos of all of the latest family fun!

DISCOVER all that is awaiting you in the Heber Valley instagram: wildoutsidersclub facebook: Wild Outsiders Club

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Bear Lake





page 10



Golden Spike National Historice Site

Beaver Mountain Resort


23 30

page 8


Brian Head Resort




OGDEN Great Salt Lake






Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area







Dinosaur National Monument





191 40

































Utah Lake



Timpanogos Cave National Monument

















Arches National Park

128 313


25 Capitol Reef National Park

21 89







Cedar Breaks National Monument Zion National Park



9 59

276 Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Bryce Canyon National Park

Natural Bridges National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument

261 San J uan R iver

Lake Powell



Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument













211 Ri ve r



95 12





Co lo ra d


Canyonlands National Park


Rainbow Bridge National Monument

MEXICAN HAT Monument Valley




Four Corners Area



Climbing 101 for Families



CLIMBING AS A FAMILY is an outstanding way to spend hours together in nature while fostering an early love for the outdoors. Getting our family into rock climbing was a no-brainer. We crave the outdoors and wanted to teach our children adventure. Sometimes, climbing and outdoor activities don’t always work as planned. Getting your kids outside while experiencing these challenging moments teaches them how to overcome obstacles and react when the world does not go according to plan. Climbing is something you can do at any age, making it the perfect outdoor family activity.



Through climbing, we spend more time outdoors than ever before. Children are natural climbers and this gives them something other than your walls or furniture at home to conquer! I think my favorite part is that my kids’ wish lists have turned from ridiculous “It” toys to outdoor related gear and clothing. Getting your kids out in your local canyons and crags while they are young is the best time to instill stewardship, ethics and respect for the outdoors in the next generation. Teaching your kids a love for nature is a catalyst for stewardship well into the future.

GETTING STARTED: Climbing is inherently tricky; if you don’t already climb it’s hard to know where to start. I always recommend starting at a climbing gym. I am a member of Momentum Climbing, but there are several other great gyms throughout Utah. While I always prefer climbing outside when weather permits, I know the gym makes me a stronger climber during the cold winter months, and kids absolutely love climbing gyms. The gyms offer belay certification classes where they will teach you how to safely belay and show you the basics. You can rent all the gear you need to get a feel for climbing and if it is right for your family. As you progress as climbers you will eventually be able to take the test to begin lead climbing, which will give you the knowledge to safely transfer your climbing outdoors. Willing friends with solid climbing experience also make great teachers. Between books, internet forums and YouTube, there is a ton of information out there to help you become a well-rounded climber, as well as make you more aware of your impact in the fragile environments that we climb. Utah is unique for climbing as we have so many amazing, world-class climbing options close to home. Plus, you can climb outside somewhere in the state virtually year-round. Since taking up climbing, I have hiked all over our local canyons, discovering places I used to just drive by. Following are some of my favorite Utah destination climbing areas: Big Cottonwood Canyon: This is where we spend the majority of our time. There are many kid-friendly options and it’s conveniently located with fantastic quartzite climbing. Big Cottonwood is so close to everything and has a crag for every climbing level.





Little Cottonwood Canyon: Multiple rock types with granite, quartzite and limestone all in the same canyon. Like Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood is conveniently located, but is harder for kids and better suited for the more advanced climber. My kids are used to hanging out cliffside, but it’s not for everyone. Moab: Gorgeous red rock and sandstone for days, with climbing options for all levels. Moab is incredible, but as anyone living in Utah knows, it’s hot in the summer. Rocks radiate heat and no one wants to bake in the sun on a rock (we aren’t lizards!). To avoid the heat, we climb in Moab in spring and fall. It’s usually the first place we camp after winter and one of the last before it starts getting too cold. Snow Canyon State Park: Incredible canyon with sand dunes, lava tubes and gorgeous views…and the climbing is great too! We just discovered Snow Canyon this year and fell in love. This Southern Utah destination is also very hot in summer, so it’s best suited for spring and fall, but it’s often warm enough to climb comfortably in winter months as well. So beautiful…we will definitely be back!

Sometimes the gear isn’t climbing related but just makes things easier for managing kids at the crag. We always bring an adventure blanket; this gives us a good home base to situate the kids. We also always bring a jacket and headlamp. You never know when you might get caught later than you thought or the weather might turn. Part of being outdoors is being prepared and packing accordingly.

My Must Haves for Climbing with kids: • Black Diamond Wiz Kid Climbing Harness • La Sportiva Stick It Kids Climbing Shoes • Petzl Tikka Headlamp • Black Diamond Compound Hoody • La Sportiva TC Pros Climbing Shoes • Edilrid Solaris Women’s Climbing Harness • Black Diamond Haul Bags • Petzl Reverso Belay Device

Indian Creek: Indian Creek is part of Bears Ears National Monument and has amazing splitter crack climbing on Wingate Sandstone. Indian Creek is easier for more established climbers and the approaches are definitely steep, but some of my fellow Mamas from the Adventure Mama Initiative and I managed to hike up with 3 toddlers in packs and were just fine. You are stronger and more capable than you think, I promise! Ibex: Located near a sandy, dry lake bed in Utah’s west desert, Ibex offers a great range of quartzite climbing and is perfect for family camping trips. I am a huge fan of camping in sand…is there anything better than kids entertained for hours playing in the sand with buckets and shovels?! This is another location that is brutally hot in summer, so plan your adventure accordingly. See map on page 33 for location. Gear We Love: Getting outside climbing does require specific gear, and with kids that gear multiplies! If you are climbing in a gym, you can always rent what you need, but once you make the leap to the outdoors there are a few basics you should acquire. The bare necessities in terms of personal equipment each climber needs are: climbing harness, shoes, chalk bag and a belay device. This assumes someone in the group has a rope and the gear/ knowledge to safely rig it.



Photo Credit: Arika Bauer

Amanda (@adventuringwithkids) is a native Utah mama of 2 little wildlings (10 and 4) and a Great Dane. She can be found rock climbing and paddle boarding all over Utah. She is passionate about getting kids outside and tries to get her children outside every day in some capacity. She volunteers for Wild Outsiders Club, @wildoutsidersclub and hosts monthly hikes/meetups.


BY KATIE THORUP of Momentum Climbing


THE SPORT OF CLIMBING is growing rapidly, with the most recent milestone of becoming an official Olympic sport in the 2020 Olympics! Climbing can help to increase general fitness safely, and touches on a variety of athletic attributes such as balance, strength, flexibility and power. It can also improve spatial awareness and coordination. A child will begin to understand how the mechanics of their body works in a variety of situations, and will develop muscle memory to execute future movements more efficiently in a nearly-instinctual way. Not only does climbing bring a variety of psychical benefits to the table, it also teaches critical problem-solving and decision-making skills, discipline and focus, and can impart bravery and the ability to adapt and overcome difficult circumstances. At Momentum, our Youth Program Vision is to share the lifelong benefits of climbing with kids of all ages. We are committed to helping each young climber grow physically and mentally in a positive learning environment. LIFELONG BENEFITS OF CLIMBING DEFINED: • Active lifestyle – embracing a lifetime sport and healthy habits • Physical benefits – coordination, fitness, strength, flexibility, spatial awareness • Mental benefits – problem-solving skills, focus, determination, concentration • Emotional – fear management, self-confidence, managing success and failure, sportsmanship and learning to be a good teammate • Skill development – climbing movement fundamentals, equipment knowledge and usage, goal setting and follow through, visualization, physical training principles • Community – belonging to a community, building friendships, character building, communication development

One of the coolest parts about climbing is that you can do it inside and OUT! It can take you all over the world, with some of the best climbing destinations right here in Utah! With winter coming and temps dropping, indoor climbing becomes a necessity. Take advantage of learning how to climb indoors this winter before moving your new-found knowledge and skills outdoors! ADULT CLASSES: Choose from basic/intro classes to more advanced classes through our Climbing School! YOUTH PROGRAMS (AGES 3-18): Our programs run 4 times per year, seasonally, with 12 classes per season. Winter season online registration opens on November 6th. Winter programs run from November 27th-February 24th.

Katie Thorup is the Youth Program Regional Manager for Momentum Indoor Climbing and has been working in the climbing industry for just about 10 years. Katie says she “wouldn’t give it up for the world!” DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM


Spring Break 2018

road trippin’ moab | kanab | st. george


REPLACE THOUGHTS OF THE DISNEYLAND CRAZINESS (which I have yet to try), with images of your kids in nature’s playground, reaching new heights on a climbing route and seeing that look of true determination on their face as they make it to the top. Picture the ear-to-ear smiles and laughs as the jet boat races up the mighty Colorado River, taking in face shots of water as the highly skilled driver tries diligently to soak everyone on the boat multiple times. Imagine flying high like a bird at 40 mph on a zip-line with 360-degree views of landscapes that resemble a classic breathtaking desert painting…or dropping 100 feet into a brilliantly colorful slot canyon that was formed by thousands of years of rushing water and wind, that is now so silent and still, you can hear your own breath as you reach the bottom. Moab is truly an outdoor recreationalist's Utopia... hiking, biking, river running, climbing, canyoneering, rockaneering, zip lining, kayaking, paddle boarding, jeeping, skydiving, ballooning…that’s a whole ‘lotta adventure “ing” options – and the BEST part of all is there are professional guides to safely lead, assist and instruct you and your family in whatever kind of “adventuring” you are up for. Whether you’re looking to leap out of a plane (not me), or give the ropes a try in the Ice Cream Parlor, Moab is the place for a spring break family “adventuring” trip.


Here is a round-up from our latest and greatest Moab family adventure.

Day 1:

8AM- Cars locked and fully overloaded, we had just about 60 hours to make the magic happen. Our crew included 3-moms and 4-kids (8, 8, 11, 14) and I was stoked to share my love of Moab adventuring with this motley crew from Park City, knowing for a few of the crew, this would be a first for many of the adventures we had in store. First stop was ADVENTURE PARK MOAB, which is a ropes course. We quickly got geared up and watched our guide, Shannon, as she demonstrated the first challenge on the high ropes course: a 30- ft. climbing wall.



only one of the group that had zipped before, and the kids were super excited to fly through the air dangling from a cable. One by one we all made it to the end of the first line, adrenaline flowing. The views…WOW… first looking to the east at majestic Mt Peale in the La Sal Mountains, towering above us at 12,721 feet in elevation. Just below us we could see Moab, which appeared lush and green in the middle of the red rock desert. To the west was the Portal of the Colorado River leading to the solitude of Canyonlands National Park. To the north were the vistas of Arches National Park, and our guide, Sierra, pointed out the Windows Section, which from our vantage point looked like tiny little dots in the distance. The day was picture-perfect, the sky brilliant blue, dotted with white puffy clouds dancing around. One by one we zigzagged through the course from line to line, building confidence with each one. Upon reaching the last one, we were all smiling and euphoric from this awesome experience.

Once we all mastered the wall, we landed on the perch in the middle of the obstacles. From there, we encouraged each other as we pushed ourselves a bit out of our personal comfort zones on the elements; stump walk, balance beam, swinging log, missing link and space loops… were some of our favorites. At the end of our 2-hour session we all felt both mentally and physically challenged and were consumed with a sense of pride for overcoming our fears and trying something new and maybe just a bit scary. We said our goodbyes and headed off for our next stop: RAVEN’S RIM ZIP LINE ADVENTURE. Our zip line tour began with an epic OHV ride up the side of a rocky cliff. The older kids sat in the front and were hootin’ and hollerin’ as our guide, Sierra, expertly navigated the rocky, bumpy and steep trail. Once at the top, we unloaded and headed for the first zip. I was the



Day 2:

Wide-eyed and full of energy, our crew started the day at MOAB CLIFFS & CANYONS for a half-day Rockaneering adventure, which combines elements of rock climbing, canyoneering and mountaineering. Our gear included a harness, helmet and ropes. We loaded our backpacks, making sure we had enough water, food and sunscreen for the trip, then headed to our destination, which was about 15 minutes from town. Our first element was rock climbing, and having practiced on the climbing wall the day before, the crew felt a bit more comfortable. Our guide, Heidi, gave us the low down on the climb, then expertly showed us the route as she climbed to the top and prepared the rope for our ascent. Watching and photographing the kids climbing brought a big smile to my face. They were all present in the moment, and eager for their turn. Next, we scrambled our way through a tiny slot canyon, Heidi stopping the group along the way to show us

some helpful canyoneering techniques. This was a true outdoor playground and the kids were in their element. Following that, we roped up again for a little bit more challenging of a climb. Watching Heidi demonstrate the route, I could feel a bit of trepidation from the group – especially the moms. This definitely challenged us all, but everyone did awesome and the kids (and moms) all cheered and hi-fived each other at the top. We took a break to fuel up, and I could tell that the group was filled with a sense of accomplishment. The view from the top was again breathtaking, and we could see in the distance the location of the previous day’s zip line adventure. Our final challenge was a 40-ft rappel. Once again, a bit of trepidation filled the air as we listened and watched Heidi show us how to rappel. The first step is always the hardest (as it is in all challenges in life‌) and trusting the gear, the guide and the ropes is key. Again, fully present in the moment, we all encouraged and cheered each other on, as we moved through this challenge. The drive back to town was quiet; kids were exhausted and I reflected on the morning feeling content, knowing that we had just experienced one of the things that we all would remember for a lifetime. It was truly one of my favorite moments with my daughter.

The afternoon left just enough time before our next adventure to chill by the pool and explore the uniquely cool shops on Main Street. One new place we visited, that the kids totally loved, was the Moab Garage. This delightful shop serves Cryocream, which is ice cream made with liquid nitrogen and made to order for you while you watch. THE SPIN & SPLASH JET BOAT TOUR WITH CANYONLANDS BY NIGHT & DAY was the finale for the day. After a hot day of adventuring in the desert, this was the perfect way to cool off. And cool off we did! We boarded the boat and quickly‌60 mph quick‌headed up the Colorado River. Without notice, we suddenly stopped, creating a huge wave, and our driver, Rory, spun the boat around 360 degrees causing the wave to engulf us within seconds. Ok, now we were officially cooled off from the heat of the desert sun. We continued this Spin & Splash pattern several times as we headed up river. The red rock walls of the river corridor were vibrantly glowing in late afternoon sun creating gorgeous reflections throughout the tour. The kids giggled uncontrollably each time we got soaked and cheered as Rory, hit top speed. Wow, what a wet and wild 1-hour ride it was.



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Day 3:

The last day of our trip started early. We met our guide, Marie, from MOAB DESERT ADVENTURES at 7 am. We again geared up with harnesses, helmets and ropes (there seems to be a theme here…). Today we would be rock climbing at the Ice Cream Parlor, and upon hearing the name of our location, of course one of the kids had to ask if there would actually be ice cream there… Upon arrival, we harnessed up and watched as Marie showed us how to tie into the rope; this was a beginner course and we started with the basics. We all watched

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Our last stop before heading home was MOAB GIANTS DINOSAUR PARK. Did you know that the Moab area is home to one of the largest concentrations of fossilized dinosaur remains and footprints in the World? If you have a dinosaur lover in the family, this is a must see. We explored the Dinosaur Trail, which is filled with 100 life-size dinosaurs. The kids played paleontologist in the Dig-It-Out-Sites, then visited the 5D Prehistoric Aquarium, which was their favorite. as Marie led the route placing gear along the way, and once at the top, she rappelled back down. The kids all took turns on the first route, then Marie set up a second route, then a third. Watching the kids go from doubt to mastery was amazing‌at one moment my daughter looked as if she was going to cry and wanted to give up, but she pushed herself through the fear and made it to the top. Climbing not only challenges you physically, but mentally as well. It’s like a puzzle; finding the next hand holds and pairing those with available foot holds teaches problem solving and requires cognitive thinking. I have been climbing maybe a dozen times in my life and after watching my daughter flourish on this adventure, we will be definitely incorporating more climbing into our outdoor recreation plan.



The ride home was a quiet one, with the kids all exhausted from the nonstop, action-packed trip. My mind was buzzing and my heart smiled, as Moab slowly disappeared from my rearview mirror. This was a trip we would all remember, and my hope is that it will instill a life-long love of outdoor adventure in my daughter and a heart that is filled by exploring our amazing backyard.


One adventure we did not have time for on this whirlwind trip was guided canyoneering, which is among my personal favorites, and Moab is home to some pretty awesome slot canyon adventures. Entrajo Canyon is a great family friendly beginner canyon that I did with Desert Highlights on a previous trip this past summer. Our trip was scheduled a couple days after a big rain storm making for an extra wet and muddy adventure. Of course, the kids on our tour found this to be super fun (what kid doesn’t like to play in the mud?) and a bonus: the pools were full of tadpoles! The half-day route involved wading through potholes, sliding through tight sections of the slot canyon and two rappels (15-ft & 80-ft.).

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Love Muffin Café, Peace Tree Cafe, Miguel’s Baja Grill, Moab Brewery, Milt’s and the Moab Garage.



Spring Break 2018






KANAB IS A HOT SPOT FOR FAMILY ADVENTURES. This hip small town just keeps getting better and has just recently gained a reputation of the being the coolest town in the west. Why…you ask? Well, you will just have to visit to find out for yourself! Our half-day tour with DREAMLAND SAFARI TOURS began with a drive down a super sandy, bumpy and rocky road. It was obvious that our guide, Ron, had been down this road just a few times before. Our first destination was the White Wave; a majestic multicolored, wind and weather sculpted sandstone butte with colors ranging from red and yellow, to grey and white. We hiked around the butte, which seemed to change with every step, and of course, took many photos along the way. We followed Ron around the back of the butte, where he pointed out a hidden rock art panel. Our next destination was the Mystical Slot (aka Peekaboo Slot) Canyon. The others on our tour had never been in a slot canyon before and they were in awe at the vibrantly colorful canyon walls. As we walked and photographed our way through the canyon we were all amazed at how it changed around every corner. We spent over an hour in the canyon and we didn’t see another person while we were out on our tour. Next on the list was the BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY'S SANCTUARY, which is the nation’s largest companion animal sanctuary. On any given day, 1600 animals reside at the sanctuary; dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, pigs and horses. The facility offers a variety of tours and volunteer opportunities. We opted for the Grand Sanctuary Tour. Following our video tutorial, we boarded the van and headed for the Cat World Headquarters where we quickly made some new furry friends. Next was a visit to Dog Town, which was our group’s favorite stop. Families can also sign up to volunteer together. Minimum age requirements vary depending on animals; Cat World age 6+, Bunny House and Parrot Garden age 8+, Dogtown age 10+, Horse Haven and Piggy Paradise 12+.

Toadstools are unique geologic features that have a hard cap rock that sits on top of a more easily-weather sandstone tower, resembling large mushrooms. About a half mile into the hike you will see your first toadstool, and then a quarter mile farther there are many other features and places to explore. Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch is an easy 3.5-mile roundtrip hike that takes you into Buckskin Gulch, which is the world longest slot canyon. The trail begins winding through sagebrush and junipers, followed by a sandy wash, and then leads into a small slot canyon that involves a 10-foot rock scramble to the canyon floor. Just a bit further down the canyon you reach the intersection of Buckskin Gulch. You can venture further into the slot canyon if your group is looking for a longer hike. Please keep in mind that if there is any rainfall forecasted in the area, slot canyons are not a safe place to explore due to the chance of flash floods. A $6.00 per person (free for kids under 12) day pass is required for this hike and can be purchased at the self-pay station at the trail head.


Sego Restaurant, Peekaboo Wood Fire Kitchen and Escobar’s Mexican Restaurant.

Lodging: The Canyon’s Collection offers a

variety of lodging options from the retro cool Quail Park Lodge, to the rustic chic Canyons Lodge. The Parry’s Lodge is a classic, established in 1931, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

CORAL PINK SAND DUNES STATE PARK is a paradise of vibrantly colorful sand dunes. Sculpted by wind and weather, these mountains of sand can move as much as 50 feet per year and are formed by the erosion of Navajo sandstone. Upon arrival at the dunes, the first question from our group was “can we take off our shoes and run in the sand?”…which is how we spent the next hour…feeling the sand in our toes. Coral Pink ATV Tours offers guided ATV and UTV tours, which is on our to-do list for next time. The Toadstool Trail is a 1.5-mile round-trip hike that is 40-miles east of Kanab and is a favorite for the kids.

Photo Credit: David Swindler

Photo Credit: Frank Jensen



Spring Break 2018






ZION NATIONAL PARK IS TRULY A WORLD-CLASS DESTINATION. Visitors come from around the world to see this majestic landscape first-hand; the vibrantly colorful towering walls and beautifully sculpted deep canyons. The many hikes in the park are all truly epic and each worthy of a visit, but one of our favorites is Hidden Canyon. Hidden Canyon begins with a pretty steep climb (850 feet in less than a mile), so be sure to take your time and enjoy the amazing views as you gain elevation. This hike is not for those with a fear of heights and does have a few narrow spots on the route with moderate exposure and drop-offs, so be sure to keep an eye and sometimes a hand on your kids. Just before entering the hidden canyon there are a few pools of water that, on our visit, had tadpoles and frogs. Once in the canyon, the kids had a blast climbing up on the rocks and logs along the route. About a half-mile into the canyon, be sure to look for the arch on the right side; the hike to this point is about 3.2-miles roundtrip. The Pa’rus Trail is a 1.7-mile paved path that is perfect for young bikers. Starting at the visitor center, the trail winds near the river and over a couple bridges then ends at Canyon Junction. We stopped in a few places along the river to explore before making our way back to the visitor center. This trail is the only place in Zion where dogs are welcome. BEYOND THE PARK… Toquerville Falls is a fantastic desert oasis swimming hole and waterfall. The dirt road to the falls is 11 miles and best navigated by high clearance SUV or OHV. The first 8 miles of the road are fairly smooth, and there is a place to park before the road gets really rough, giving you the option to hike the last 3 miles to the falls. The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve was established in 1996 and is a 62,000-acre scenic wildlife reserve set aside to protect the rare plants and animals of the area. The Mojave Desert Tortoise, Gila monster and chuckwalla are just a few of the reserve’s many inhabitants. The reserve offers many non-motorized recreational opportunities, but please keep in mind that this is a place designated to protect the species living here and it is very important to stay on the designated trails and always keep dogs on a leash. Red Reef and Babylon Arch are a couple of our favorite spots in the reserve. Red Reef is one of our favorite water hikes in the St. George area. The family-friendly section of the hike is about 1.5 miles round-trip, but for those looking to add on more miles, you can continue on the trail for another 5 miles. Our favorite section of the trail is climbing the moki steps next to the waterfall and looking for tadpoles in the pools of water. This trail is very popular, and parking is limited, so we usually go before 10 or after 4 to ensure a parking spot. There is a $5 fee for parking. Babylon Arch is a 3-mile round-trip hike that begins at the Sand Cove trailhead. Follow the Flicker Trail for .2 miles and then the jeep road for .4 miles and look for the Arch trail sign.





From there the trail winds through sandy washes and beautiful towering red rock formations. The arch is about a mile in and then you can continue another ½ mile to the Virgin River. The trail is fairly easy with total elevation change of 420 feet. For those with a high clearance SUV Sand Cove has an awesome primitive camping area. St. George is home to 4 State Parks: Snow Canyon, Gunlock, Quail Creek and Sand Hollow. Snow Canyon is our favorite for hiking. Johnson Canyon is just under 2 miles round-trip and leads to the beautiful 200-ft long Johnson Arch. The Lava Flow Trail (aka Lava Tubes) is 2 miles round-trip and has options to explore 3 different lava tubes along the route. Be sure to pack a headlamp for checking out these unique caves. Looking for rock art? Anasazi Ridge in the Santa Clara River Reserve is your destination. The Anasazi Valley Trail is 3.5 miles round-trip and leads to some old Anasazi ruins and very well preserved rock art.

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